Religion None (state atheism)
1949–1954 Valko Chervenkov
Area 110,994 km²
Date dissolved November 15, 1990
1948–1949 Georgi Dimitrov
Founded 15 September 1946
Currency Bulgarian lev
|Government Marxist–Leninist one–party socialist state|
Peoples republic of bulgaria anthem today a country under high treason occupators
The People's Republic of Bulgaria (PRB; Bulgarian: Народна република България (НРБ) Narodna republika Bǎlgariya (NRB)) was the official name of the Bulgarian socialist republic. The Peoples Republic of Bulgaria existed from 1946 to 1990, when the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) ruled together with its coalition partner, the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union. Bulgaria was part of Comecon, a member of the Warsaw Pact and closely allied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
- Peoples republic of bulgaria anthem today a country under high treason occupators
- Communist coup
- Early years and Chervenkov era
- Forced Macedonization in Pirin Macedonia
- Zhivkov era
- Gold and silver reserve of the Bulgarian National Bank
- 16th republic of the USSR
- Participation in the suppression of the Prague Spring
- 1971 1989
- End of the Peoples Republic
- Government and politics
- Automobile industry
Bulgarian resistance movement during World War II deposed the Kingdom of Bulgaria administration in the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944 which ended the country's alliance with the Axis powers and led to the People's Republic being established in 1946.
The BCP modelled its policies after those pioneered in the Soviet Union, transforming the country over the course of a decade from an agrarian peasant society into an industrialised socialist society. In the mid 1950s, after the death of Joseph Stalin, the conservative hardliners lost influence and a period of social liberalisation and stability under Todor Zhivkov followed with varying degrees of conservative or liberal influence over time thereafter. After a new energy and transportation infrastructure was constructed, by 1960 manufacturing became the dominant sector of the economy and Bulgaria became a major exporter of household goods and, later on, computer technologies, earning it the nickname of "Silicon Valley of the Eastern Bloc." The country's relatively high productivity levels and high scores on social development rankings made it a model for other socialist countries' administrative policies.
In 1989, after a few years of liberal influence, political reforms were initiated and Todor Zhivkov, who had served as head of the party since 1954, was removed from office in a BCP congress. In 1990, under the new leadership of Georgi Parvanov, the BCP changed its name to the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and adopted a centre-left political ideology in place of Marxism-Leninism. Following the BSP victory in the 1990 election, which was the first openly contested multi-party election since 1931, the name of the state was changed to the Republic of Bulgaria.
Geographically, the People's Republic of Bulgaria bordered the Black Sea to the east; Romania to the north; Yugoslavia (Serbia and the Socialist Republic of Macedonia) to the west and Greece and Turkey to the south.
In 1942 the Fatherland Front was formed. This constituted a mixture of Communists, Socialists and Liberals.
The Fatherland Front took office in Sofia following a coup d'état, setting up a broad coalition under the former ruler Kimon Georgiev and including the Social Democrats and the Agrarians. Under the terms of the peace settlement, Bulgaria was allowed to keep Southern Dobruja, but formally renounced all claims to Greek and Yugoslav territory. 150,000 Bulgarians were expelled from Greek Thrace. The Communists deliberately took a minor role in the new government at first, but the Soviet representatives were the real power in the country. A Communist-controlled People's Militia was set up, which harassed and intimidated non-Communist parties.
On 1 February 1945, the new realities of power in Bulgaria were shown when Regent Prince Kiril, former Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, and hundreds of other officials of the old regime were arrested on charges of war crimes. By June, Kirill and the other Regents, twenty-two former ministers, and many others had been executed. In September 1946, the monarchy was abolished by plebiscite, and young Tsar Simeon was sent into exile. The Communists now openly took power, with Vasil Kolarov becoming President and Dimitrov becoming Prime Minister. Free elections promised for 1946 were blatantly rigged and were boycotted by the opposition. The Agrarians refused to co-operate with the new regime, and in June 1947 their leader Nikola Petkov was arrested. Despite strong international protests he was executed in September. This marked the final establishment of a Communist regime in Bulgaria.
Early years and Chervenkov era
In 1944, with the oncoming of the Red Army through Romania, the Kingdom of Bulgaria changed its alliance and declared neutrality. On 5 September, the USSR declared war on the kingdom and three days later the Red Army entered north eastern Bulgaria, prompting the government to declare support in order to minimise military conflict. On 9 September, the communist partisans launched a coup d'état which de facto ended the rule of the monarchy and its administration, after which a new government assumed power led by the Fatherland Front (FF), which in itself was led by the Bulgarian Communist Party.
The new government began to severely constrain Nazi collaborators. As the war came to a halt, the government expanded its campaign of political revolution to go after economic elites in banking and private business. This only strengthened it when it became apparent that the United States and United Kingdom had largely disregarded themselves with Bulgaria, and further intensified in November 1945, when Communist Party leader Georgi Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria after 22 years in exile. He made a truculent speech that made it apparent the party had no intentions of working with opposition groups who were against their revolution. Elections held a few weeks later resulted in a large majority for the Fatherland Front.
In September 1946, a referendum on whether to retain the monarchy or make Bulgaria a republic resulted in 95.6 percent voting in favour of a republic. Almost immediately after that Bulgaria was declared a people's republic. The young Tsar Simeon II, his mother and sister were required to leave the country. Vasil Kolarov, the number-three man in the party, became acting head of state.
Over the next year, the Communists consolidated their hold on power. Elections for a constituent assembly in October 1946 gave the Communists a majority. A month later, Dimitrov became prime minister. In December 1947, the constituent assembly ratified a new constitution for the republic, referred to as the "Dimitrov Constitution". The constitution was drafted with the help of Soviet jurists using the 1936 Soviet Constitution as a model. By 1948, the remaining opposition parties were either realigned or dissolved; the Social Democrats merged with the Communists, while the Agrarian Union became a loyal partner with the Communists.
During 1948-49, Orthodox, Muslim, Protestant and Roman Catholic religious organizations were restrained or banned. The Orthodox Church of Bulgaria continued functioning but never regained the influence it held under the monarchy; many high roles within the church would be assumed by communist functionaries.
Dimitrov died in 1949. For a time, Bulgaria adopted collective leadership with Vulko Chervenkov becoming leader of the Communist Party and Vasil Kolarov becoming prime minister. This broke down a year later, when Kolarov died and Chervenkov assumed both roles of party leader and prime minister. Chervenkov started a process of rapid industrialization modelled after the Soviet industrialisation led by Stalin in the 1930s. Like in the 1930s USSR, agriculture was collectivised by mandate and refusal to comply was punishable by imprisonment. Labor camps were set up and at the height of the campaign housed about 100,000 people. Thousands of people charged with treason or participating in counter-revolutionary conspiracy were sentenced to either death or life in prison.
Yet, Chervenkov's support base even in the Communist Party was too narrow for him to survive long once his patron, Stalin, was gone. In March 1954, a year after Stalin's death, Chervenkov was deposed as Party Secretary with the approval of the new leadership in Moscow and replaced by the youthful Todor Zhivkov. Chervenkov stayed on as Prime Minister until April 1956, when he was finally dismissed and replaced by Anton Yugov.
The highest estimate for partisans at any one time in Bulgaria is 18,000.
Forced Macedonization in Pirin Macedonia
Stalin ordered the following to the Bulgarian delegation:
Cultural autonomy must be granted to Pirin Macedonia within the framework of Bulgaria. Tito has shown himself more flexible than you - possibly because he lives in a multiethnic state and has had to give equal rights to the various peoples. Autonomy will be the first step towards the unification of Macedonia, but in view of the present situation there should be no hurry on this matter. Otherwise, in the eyes of the Macedonian people the whole mission of achieving Macedonian autonomy will remain with Tito and you will get the criticism. You seem to be afraid of Kimon Georgiev, you have involved yourselves too much with him and do not want to give autonomy to Pirin Macedonia. That a Macedonian consciousness has not yet developed among the population is of no account. No such consciousness existed in Byelorussia either when we proclaimed it a Soviet Republic. However, later it was shown that a Byelorussian people did in fact exist
The government used force, threats and intimidation, all opposers of the policy were persecuted as fascists and greater Bulgarian chauvinists. Some were resettled as far as Vojvodina after they had been resettled from Pirin to SR Macedonia for unsuccessful Macedonisation.
After the coup of September 9, 1944 and the end of the Bulgarian government in Macedonia, Bulgaria takes Communist policy of closer rapprochement with Yugoslavia. Then Prime Minister and leader of the Workers' Party Georgi Dimitrov initiated the idea for the project for a Balkan federation. For an adhesive unit should serve Macedonia, which should flow in the federation as a united federal republic with pronounced Macedonian national consciousness with boundaries of Pirin to the Shar Mountains. For this purpose, launched policy of forced Macedonisation of the Bulgarian population in the Pirin region through conscious change of ethnic self-determination of the Bulgarian population, held by means of administrative coercion and a massive propaganda.
In December 1946 he conducted a census in Pirin Macedonia. State authorities instructing the local population in the Pirin region to administrative records such as "Macedonian", including Pomaks, with the exception of those originating from within the country. At its meeting on December 21 Regional Committee of the Workers' Party in Upper Cuma decided to accepted formula for the presence of 70% "Macedonians" in cities column spoken language of census documents to write "Bulgarian" and in villages - mostly "Macedonian". As a result of instructions from the 281 015 inhabitants, 169 444 persons were identified as ethnic Macedonians.
As a result, in 1947 between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia signed bled agreement whereby Pirin Macedonia is included in the composition of the federal Yugoslavia, which proceeded to the union of Pirin Macedonia with Vardar Macedonia are abolished visa regimes and removed customs services .
Shortly thereafter - in 1948, due to the rupture in relations between Tito and Stalin contract is dissolved. For a while BCP and Bulgarian state reserve contradictory, protivobalgarska policy on the Macedonian issue - until 1963, when the March Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Todor Zhivkov openly declared that the population in Pirin Macedonia is part of the Bulgarian nation and was political forced by the Communist Party during the Cultural autonomy of Pirin Macedonia between 1944 - 1948 year declared a Macedonian.
Zhivkov became the new leader of the BCP, and remained for the following 33 years. The BCP retained its alliance with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), which was now led by Nikita Khrushchev who formally denounced Stalin at the CPSU congress in 1956. With conservative hardliners pushed aside, this brought in a period of liberal influence and reform. Relations were restored with Yugoslavia, which had previously been shunned by the Soviet Union due to its anti-Stalinist stance, and Greece. The trials and executions of Traicho Kostov and other "Titoists" (though not of Nikola Petkov and other non-Communist victims of the 1947 purges) were officially denounced. The party's militant anti-clericalism was relaxed and the Orthodox Church was no longer targeted as an enemy of the revolution.
The upheavals in Poland and Hungary in 1956 did not spread to Bulgaria, but the Party placed firm restrictions on publicising views considered to be anti-socialist or seditious to prevent any such outbreaks. In the 1960s some economic reforms were adopted, which allowed the free sale of production that exceeded planned amounts. The country became the most popular tourist destination for people in the Eastern Bloc. Bulgaria also had a large production basis for commodities such as cigarettes and chocolate, which were hard to obtain in other socialist countries.
Yugov retired in 1962, and Zhivkov consequently became Prime Minister as well as Party Secretary. He survived the Soviet leadership's transition from Khrushchev to Brezhnev in 1964, and in 1968 again demonstrated his loyalty to the Soviet Union by taking a formal part in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968; that is, he sent a limited number of troops for attendance but not for actually taking part in the bringing down of the Prague Spring. At this point Bulgaria became generally regarded as the Soviet Union's most loyal Eastern European ally.
In 1971, with the adoption of a new Constitution, Zhivkov was promoted to Head of State (Chairman of the State Council) and Stanko Todorov to Prime Minister.
In 1978, Bulgaria attracted widespread international attention when the exiled dissident writer Georgi Markov was accosted on a London street by a stranger who rammed his leg with the tip of an umbrella. Markov died shortly afterwards of ricin poisoning and it was believed that he had been the victim of the Bulgarian secret service, a suspicion confirmed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union when KGB documents were released revealing that they had worked together with Bulgaria to arrange Markov's demise.
Gold and silver reserve of the Bulgarian National Bank
Much later became known that in 1960, in terms of insolvency and the need for repayment of upcoming maturities in II-quarter to 46 million dollars, III-quarter to $36 million and IV-quarter to 25 million dollars to Western banks, Todor Zhivkov personally addressed a written proposal to the first Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU - Nikita Khrushchev asking the USSR to purchase reserve bank gained over 66 years - from liberation in 1878 to 1944, from 22 tons of gold and 50 tons of silver against convertible currencies (then capitalist).
When selling gold is taken to Novosibirsk, where refined to be aligned with the requirements of the international gold markets and then paid a price $35.10 an ounce, a total of 23 million dollars. Now to 2009 . the value of the sold gold reserves would be 639 million dollars. In subsequent years Zhivkov resorting to several secret operations with gold and between 1960 and 1964 with his permission have sold a total of 31.8 tons, the resulting convertible currency was used solely to repay the debts of Bulgaria mainly to Soviet banks - Eyrobank in Paris and Moscow People's Bank in London.
"16th republic of the USSR"
On December 4, 1963, Todor Zhivkov in his capacity as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and Prime Minister of Bulgaria at the time, personally submitted a proposal at the plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Bulgaria address to the Central Committee of the CPSU issue further closer approximation and future merger of the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the Soviet union, making it the 16th Republic of the Soviet union and thus endangering national integrity and independence of the country. The plenum of the Central Committee assessed the proposal as a remarkable display of patriotism and internationalism, which raised to a new level brotherly friendship and comprehensive cooperation between our country and the Soviet Union .. proposal "to create economic, political and ideological prerequisites for the complete unification of the two present fraternal countries "was unanimously approved by the plenum and signed personally by Todor Zhivkov.
Participation in the suppression of the Prague Spring
The decision on the participation of Bulgaria in the military intervention after the Prague Spring was taken by the Council of Ministers, chaired by Todor Zhivkov, a top secret decree №39 of Ministers of 20.VIII.1968 ground "for providing military assistance to the Czechoslovak Communist Party Czechoslovak people ". in military operation involving the 12th and 22nd Infantry Regiment number of 2164 people and tank battalion with 26 machines T-34.
In 1971 the new Constitution is added so-called. "Article 1", which grants the PA as the sole ruling a "leading force of society and the state."
1971 – 1989
The Tenth Congress of the Communist Party adopted a new program of the party, which aims at building a developed socialist society (RMA). Zhivkovskata constitution was adopted in 1971
Bulgaria signed agreements Helzinksite 1975, which prominently guaranteeing human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of movement, contacts, information, culture and education, right to work, right to education and medical care. However, subsequent events regarding the Bulgarian Turks in the 80s are a direct violation of such commitments.
End of the People's Republic
Although Zhivkov was never in the Stalinist mould, by the 1980s the conservatives held influence over the government and the administration was very autocratic. Some social and cultural liberalization and progress was led by Lyudmila Zhivkova, Todor's daughter, who however became a source of strong disapproval and annoyance to the Communist Party due to her unorthodox lifestyle which included the practicing of Eastern religions. She died in 1981 a week short of her 39th birthday, and it was rumoured, but never proven, that the secret police had her assassinated.
This autocracy was shown most notably in a campaign of forced assimilation against the ethnic Turkish minority, who were forbidden to speak the Turkish language and were forced to adopt Bulgarian names in the winter of 1984. The issue strained Bulgaria's economic relations with the West. The 1989 expulsion of Turks from Bulgaria caused a significant drop in agricultural production in the southern regions due to the loss of around 300,000 workers.
By the time the impact of Mikhail Gorbachev's reform program in the Soviet Union was felt in Bulgaria in the late 1980s, the Communists, like their leader, had grown too feeble to resist the demand for change for long. Liberal outcry at the breakup of an environmental demonstration in Sofia in October 1989 broadened into a general campaign for political reform. More moderate elements in the Communist leadership reacted promptly by deposing Zhivkov and replacing him with foreign minister Petar Mladenov on November 10, 1989.
This swift move, however, gained only a short respite for the Communist Party and prevented revolutionary change. Mladenov promised to open up the regime, even going as far as to say that he supported multi-party elections. However, demonstrations throughout the country brought the situation to a head. On December 11, Mladenov went on national television to announce the Communist Party would cede its monopoly over the political system. On January 15, 1990, the National Assembly formally amended the legal code to abolish the Communist Party's "leading role." In June 1990, the first multi-party elections since 1939 were held, thus paving Bulgaria's way to multi-party system. Finally on 15 November 1990, the 7th Grand National Assembly voted to change the country's name to the Republic of Bulgaria and removed the Communist state emblem from the national flag.
It is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 people may have been killed in Bulgaria beginning in 1944 as part of agricultural collectivisation and political repression, although there is insufficient documentation to make a definitive judgement. Dinyu Sharlanov, in his book History of Communism in Bulgaria, accounts for about 31,000 people killed under the regime between 1944 and 1989. For Forced labour camps in Communist Bulgaria definitive figures alsor emain elusive.
A 2009 poll conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that one-in-nine Bulgarians believe ordinary people are better off as a result of the transition to capitalism. Sixteen percent say the Multi-Party Republic is run for the benefit of all people.
Government and politics
The People's Republic of Bulgaria was a one-party Communist state. The Bulgarian Communist Party created an extensive nomenklatura on each organizational level. The constitution was changed several times, with the Zhivkov Constitution being the longest-lived. According to article 1, "The People's Republic of Bulgaria is a socialist state, headed by the working people of the village and the city. The leading force in society and politics is the Bulgarian Communist Party."
The PRB functioned as a one-party people's republic, with the People's Committees representing local self-governing. Their role was to exercise Party decisions in their respective areas, and in the meantime to rely on popular opinion in decision-making. In the late 1980s, the BCP had an estimated peak of 1,000,000 members—more than 10% of the population.
After Bulgaria was proclaimed a people's republic in 1946, the military rapidly adopted a Soviet military doctrine and organization. The country received large amounts of Soviet weaponry, and eventually established a domestic military vehicle production capability. By the year 1988, the Bulgarian People's Army (Българска народна армия) numbered 152,000 men, serving in four different branches - Land Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, and Missile Forces.
The BPA operated an impressive amount of equipment for the country's size - 3,000 tanks, 2,000 armored vehicles, 2,500 large caliber artillery systems, over 500 combat aircraft, 33 combat vessels, as well as 67 Scud missile launchers, 24 SS-23 launchers and dozens of FROG-7 artillery rocket launchers.
The economy of the P.R.B. was a centrally planned economy, similar to those in other COMECON states. In the mid-1940s, when the collectivisation process began, Bulgaria was a primarily agrarian state, with some 80% of its population located in rural areas. Production facilities of all sectors were nationalised, although it was not until Vulko Chervenkov that private economic activity was completely scrapped.
Despite negative effects in some other countries, the productivity of Bulgarian agriculture increased rapidly after collectivisation. Large-scale mechanisation resulted in an immense growth in labour productivity. A vast amount of government subsidies were spent each year to cover the losses from the artificially lowered consumer prices.
Chervenkov's Stalinist policy led to a massive industrialisation and development of the energy sector, which is one of Bulgaria's most advanced economic sectors to date. His rule lasted from 1950 to 1956, and saw the construction of dozens of dams and hydroelectric powerplants, chemical works, Elatsite gold and copper mine, and many others. The war-time coupon system was abolished, healthcare and education were made free. All this was achieved with strict government control and organization, prisoner brigades from the labor camps and the Bulgarian Brigadier Movement - a youth labor movement where young people worked voluntarily on construction projects.
Bulgaria was also very involved in computer construction, which earned it the nickname "Silicon Valley of the Eastern Bloc." Bulgarian engineers developed the first Bulgarian computer, the Vitosha, as well as the Pravetz computers, and because of this, it is currently the only Balkan Country to operate a supercomputer, a Blue Gene/P.
In the 1960s, Todor Zhivkov introduced a number of reforms which had a positive effect on the country's economy. He preserved the planned economy, but also put emphasis on light industry, agriculture, tourism, as well as on Information Technology in the 1970s and the 1980s. Surplus agricultural production could be sold freely, prices were lowered even more, and new equipment for light industrial production was imported. Bulgaria also became the first Communist country to purchase a license from Coca-Cola in 1965, the product had the trademark logo in Cyrillic.
Despite being very stable, the economy shared the same drawbacks of other countries from Eastern Europe - it traded almost entirely with the Soviet Union (more than 60%) and planners did not take into account whether there were markets for some of the goods produced. This resulted in surpluses of certain products, while other commodities were in deficit.
Apart from the Soviet Union, other main trade partners were East Germany and Czechoslovakia, but non-European countries such as Mongolia and various African countries were also large-scale importers of Bulgarian goods. The country also enjoyed good trade relations with various non-Communist developed countries, most notably West Germany and Italy. In order to combat the low quality of many goods, a comprehensive State standard system was introduced in 1970, which included precise and strict quality requirements for all sorts of products, machines and buildings.
The People's Republic of Bulgaria had an average GDP per capita for an Eastern Bloc country. A comparative table is given below. At least on paper, average purchasing power was one of the lowest in the Eastern Bloc, mostly due to the larger availability of commodities than in other socialist countries. Workers employed abroad often received higher payments, thus could afford a wider range of goods to purchase. According to official figures, in 1988 100 out of 100 households had a television set, 95 out of 100 had a radio, 96 out of 100 had a refrigerator, and 40 out of 100 had an automobile.
Since 1965 in People's Republic of Bulgaria many companies from Western Europe choose Bulgaria to build their factories to sell their automobiles in the countries which were in the eastern bloc. Renault and Citroen from France, and Fiat and Alfa Romeo from Italy tried to convince Bulgaria for a partnership, but People's Republic of Bulgaria made deals only with Renault and Fiat.
Culture in the People's Republic of Bulgaria was strictly controlled and regulated by the government, although there have been some periods of liberalization (meaning entrance in Bulgaria of Western literature, music, etc.). The thaw in intellectual life had continued from 1951 until the middle of the decade. Vulko Chervenkov's resignation and the literary and cultural flowering in the Soviet Union created expectations that the process would continue, but the Hungarian revolution of fall 1956 frightened the Bulgarian leadership away from encouragement of dissident intellectual activity.
In response to events in Hungary, Chervenkov was appointed minister of education and culture; in 1957 and 1958, he purged the leadership of the Bulgarian Writers' Union and dismissed liberal journalists and editors from their positions. His crackdowns effectively ended the "Bulgarian thaw" of independent writers and artists inspired by Khrushchev's 1956 speech against Stalinism.